Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

« back to the list

Modeling Vehicle Accidents and Highway Geometric Design Relationships

Product Type

Journal Article


Shaw-Pin Miaou and Harry Lum



Full citation

Shaw-Pin Miaou and Harry Lum. Modeling Vehicle Accidents and Highway Geometric Design Relationships. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 25, No. 6, pp. 689-709, 1993.


The statistical properties of four regression models - two conventional linear regression models and two Poisson regression models - are investigated in terms of their ability to model vehicle accidents and highway geometric design relationships. Potential limitations of these models pertaining to their underlying distributional assumptions, estimation procedures, functional form of accident rate, and sensitivity to short road sections, are identified. Important issues, such as the treatment of vehicle exposure and traffic conditions, and data uncertainties due to sampling and nonsampling errors, are also discussed. Roadway and truck accident data from the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), a highway safety data base administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), have been employed to illustrate the use and the limitations of these models. It is demonstrated that the conventional linear regression models lack the distributional property to describe adequately random, discrete, nonnegative, and typically sporadic vehicle accident events on the road. As a result, these models are not appropriate to make probabilistic statements about vehicle accidents, and the test statistics derived from these models are questionable. The Poisson regression models, on the other hand, possess most of the desirable statistical properties in developing these relationships. However, if the vehicle accident data are found to be significantly overdispersed relative to its mean, then using the Poisson regression models may overstate or understate the likelihood of vehicle accidents on the road. More general probability distributions may have to be considered.

Available From

Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 25(6), 1993

Link To Journal Article

Link not available.


Poisson regression models
Highway geometric design

« Back to the List

HSIS Summaries

HSIS Summary Reports are two to eight pages in length and include a brief description of the issue addressed, data used, methodology applied, significant results, and practical implications.

Read More

Research Reports

A variety of research studies have been performed using data from HSIS. Many of the final reports prepared are now available electronically.

Read More

Technical Summaries

Research reports are often summarized in executive summaries, technical briefs, or other abbreviated formats. Included here are those road safety summaries that involved research using HSIS data.

Read More

Safety Analysis Tools

In addition to conducting research, HSIS resources are also used to develop products that can be used by practitioners in the analysis of safety problems.

Read More

Other Projects

HSIS data are sometimes used in research studies that result in other types of finished products, such as dissertations, theses, and conference proceedings.

Read More